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He should have killed me in seminary

27 September 2011 by Brad Williams

Q. 41. Why was our Mediator called Jesus?

A. Our Mediator was called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins.

One of the most wretched experiences that God can grant a man is to ordain that he should go through seminary single. I tell you the truth, there is hardly a more miserable man on the earth than a single seminary student. By the grace of God, they are as blissfully unaware of their miserable condition, but every sane person around them know, and can smell it a mile away. I'm afraid young seminarians reek of desperation and boredom like boys reek of cologne at the eighth grade dance. The only thing that smells worse is an internet troll.

I know a lot of guys, and I have some friends in seminary right now who are single -- so I know of what I speak. This is not meant to be a total slam against seminary guys and girls who are studying to serve in the ministry. I love these people. I pray for them. I was one of them, and the only reason I know of the trial they are in is because, by God's grace, I survived it, was given a wife, a pastorate, and two children by an all-loving God who should have killed me in seminary.

The poor, young, seminary student is often under the erroneous impression, like the internet troll, that what he really needs is more knowledge and a position from which to dispense it. Mixed up in this longing to tell people all the mysteries of God is the longing, wishing, and hoping that God will finally grant him a wife. On a seminary campus, the ration of guys to girls seems to be about 42:1. This means that any hapless, single, relatively attractive young lady on that campus is being circled by (self-ignorant) predatory seminarians from the time she leaves one class until the time she sits through another. Some of the guys are oblivious to the fact that they are doing this. Some are embarrassed by the awareness that they are but feel they have little choice. Some call their pastors and tell them that they believe God wants them to be single forever because the humiliation of becoming one of those circling sharks is too great to bear.

This is why these guys wind up excommunicating one another over where one lands on the question of whether Jesus was able not to sin or not able to sin. As if that answer is going to revolutionize the evangelical church and explains why evangelicals are in such a state of disrepair. They have too much knowledge, too much testosterone, and no outlet for any of it. God bless their hearts.

All of this is by design. God will let his man burn for awhile with the passions of his flesh. He will let his man cry out in despair, become despondent, and wonder whether or not anybody cares, if God will ever grant him a wife, and whether or not he will ever be called to a church. These questions will drive him to near madness, like some kind of crazed bull who gets a whiff of a herd of cows but finds himself on the other side of a 8 foot fence.

For what reason does God do these things, and a million more, to his own servants? The reason is simple: until a man feels the wicked, unruly fire in his own flesh he can never have sympathy for another man caught in the throes of his own. Young men, full of potential, talent, and love for God are put through the fire that they might learn to be gentle with God's precious flock. God isn't seeking zealous men who love to fuss and beat others about the head and shoulders for their nincompoopery. We have plenty of those guys already. He is looking for a shepherd who is patient with the flock, who is able to bear their sorrows, and who knows that deliverance is at hand for all the trouble that a bleating sheep will encounter.  I truly hope that you serve with a church full of men and women that know exactly what I am talking about.

But above all, God is looking to make leaders who understand why He named His beloved son Jesus. God named Him Jesus "because he saveth his people from their sins." Pastors need to know that. Missionaries need to know that. Pastor's wives need to know that.

You need to know that.